BUDAPEST • Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel took pole position at yesterday's Hungarian Grand Prix and denied his Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton a record-equalling career 68th pole.
The German's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen sealed the Ferrari front-row lockout, after qualifying ahead of Mercedes duo Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton.
It was Vettel's second pole position of the season, having taken the top spot in Russia and the third time he has claimed pole in Hungary, having done so twice before for Red Bull in 2010 and 2011.
The 30-year-old four-time champion also clocked a best lap of 1min 16.276sec, smashing the existing track record of 1:18.436 set by Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello in 2004.
"The last race wasn't great for us but that doesn't matter now. The car has been incredible all day," said Vettel, who finished seventh at Silverstone two weeks ago.
"We made a good step forward. I like this track a lot and it's been really enjoyable. It's a front row for Ferrari, so we're looking forward to tomorrow.
"I'm very happy where we are as a team. The main task comes tomorrow. Nothing has been won today."
Ferrari has proved repeatedly this season that they are quick out of the box and are both easy to set up and better than Mercedes at finding the right operating temperature window for their tyres. Vettel made the most of it and the result bodes well for today's race.
HUNGARIAN GP GRID
1 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari
2 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari
3 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes
4 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes
5 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull
6 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull
7 Fernando Alonso (Esp) McLaren
8 Stoffel Vandoorne (Bel) McLaren
9 Carlos Sainz Jr (Esp) Toro Rosso
10 Jolyon Palmer (Gbr) Renault
11 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Force India
14 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India
He will now be looking to extend his slender one-point lead over Hamilton (176 points) in the drivers' standings.
Hamilton, on the other hand, had been hoping to match Michael Schumacher's all-time pole record of 68 but he will now have to wait for another chance.
The Briton and Bottas both acknowledged Ferrari were clear winners in qualifying, but warned that the race today will be different.
"We knew Ferrari were quick and we were aware of their pace. The race is on," Hamilton said.
Bottas added: "We knew it should be close and they would be tough to beat and they had the upper hand today. They've clearly got everything right for this track and we still have work to do in circuits like this. But let's see tomorrow."
Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull were fifth and sixth respectively.
Off the track, Williams confirmed yesterday that reserve driver Paul di Resta of Scotland will replace the unwell Felipe Massa for the race today. They said in a statement that Brazilian Massa had felt dizzy and unwell on Friday evening and had gone to hospital for tests.
He was cleared to take part in yesterday's practice and qualifying sessions by the FIA's medical delegate, but he felt unwell again during practice and has made the decision to withdraw from the weekend.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN
F1 HUNGARIAN GP
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